Vision Statement

We’re finally done with the “Vision Statement!” It was worth the extra time to get it just right.  Before you read it, here is a short description from the “Starting New Churches” handbook of what this statement is supposed to do:

Vision Statement: The second task of the team is to develop a one page description of “who” this new church is being started for and “why” it needs to be started. The temptation is to try and start a church for everyone, which usually leads to communicating clearly the love of God to no one. The vision statement will be developed after several site visits, much prayer, and significant time to reflect. It is really the discerning of the heart of God at this time. 

Vision Statement: Mountain View PC New Church Development

 Who are we called to reach?

 Primary Group

  • Stanwood/Camano Island, WA
  • Pre-Christians
  • Young Families

 Secondary Groups

  • Busy on Sundays
  • Negative Perceptions of the Church

 We are called to the Stanwood/Camano Island area to establish a faith community that seeks to live their lives as followers of Jesus. Recognizing that this requires a core group whose faith is strongly established, we nevertheless feel most compelled to reach out to those who do not yet know Jesus. Specifically, God has continually placed young families on our hearts. These families, consisting of children, parents and potentially grandparents or other extended relatives, will be a core area of focus in establishing a healthy multi-generational church body.

Significant subgroups that we hope to reach include those whose family obligations and work schedules have made it difficult to be part of a worshipping community on Sunday mornings, and those whose negative perceptions of the Church or sheer lack of contact with the Church act as barriers to receiving the love of Christ. These are those to whom we may be called to present the Good News in ways that look different from what people traditionally perceive church to be. This may also require scheduling gatherings on nontraditional days (not Sunday/not only Sunday).

 Why Stanwood/Camano Island?

In some respects, the Stanwood/Camano Island area is similar to other communities in Washington State and the Northwestern United States in general. There are already churches present in the community, some of them very old and established, and yet a large percentage of the population is not connected in any way with these churches. People may consider themselves quite spiritual, but they do not see the value in the Christian Church as it is often presented to them.

What may be unique about Stanwood and especially Camano Island, is that among those who identify with the Presbyterian tradition, a number of them choose to travel to neighboring communities to worship. For these reasons, and many others, we have clearly sensed God calling Mountain View Presbyterian Church to be involved in starting a new faith community in the area.

Why pre-Christians?

It is the very DNA of the Church to be engaged in making disciples, baptizing, and teaching people to love, obey and follow Jesus (Matt. 28:18-20). And yet, so often new churches end up attracting mostly those who are already Christian and simply want a new place to worship. While we will be seeking mature believers to do the discipling, baptizing, and teaching, it will be our focus to reach those who do not yet know Jesus rather than creating a church that draws in believers from other existing churches.

Why young families?

Many young parents desire to raise their children in stable, loving families that can provide all they need to grow, even thrive in the world. But the reality is that apart from Christ, none of us have the foundation, the support, the community, the tools, or even the love sufficient to accomplish this. We have a longing to see that no family has to go without the Savior who knows and provides for all their needs.

There are many parents in this generation who didn’t grow up in a church community, or fell away from the church early in life. These people are now having children of their own who have never heard the Good News, or cannot understand its significance. In these cases, people either can’t or won’t seek the life, love and light available to them in Jesus Christ, no matter how desperately they need it. Consequently, they live lives without clear meaning or purpose. They will not seek out a church; the gospel must be taken to where they live and work!

Why people who are busy on Sunday?

For many people, family obligations often take priority and can quickly fill up a schedule. In addition, there are those who must work on Sundays in order to make a living. While we are not ruling out having Sunday gatherings, we want to reach out to and walk alongside these people who often fall through the cracks, and equip them for the life Christ intended them to live. It appears that there is room in the Stanwood/Camano Island area for a church that provides options for worship in addition to Sunday morning.

Why people who have a negative view of the Church?

We want to do everything we can for those who have simply written off the church – everything we can to help them hear the loving call of their Savior. We want to reach those who dismiss the idea of church because of inaccurate perceptions or painful past experiences, and provide an environment where individuals can go deeper in building a sense of authentic community and friendship in Jesus Christ. Establishing a new faith community with the support of Mountain View Presbyterian Church and the Presbytery of North Puget Sound enables us to explore novel, nontraditional approaches needed to reach people with the love of Jesus Christ.

Done! (Almost)

Discernment Team at Work

Part of our discernment team after finishing the rough draft of our foundational statement

Everyone’s smiling because we’re done with the Foundational Statement! Well… we’re done with the rough draft anyway. It has been numerous sessions with a lot of hard work, but we are almost there. I had to take a picture to preserve the moment with all of the papers strewn everywhere. Pulling all of our ideas together into something coherent was not easy! If you could see the whiteboard in the front of the room it would show even more of the chaos. Each individual component of our statement (Jesus, Church, Salvation, Service, & Evangelism) has been worked and reworked. Now we take a breather, reflect on it again, and hopefully we will put the finishing touches on it this Sunday.

I have to say that even though it has been a lot of intellectual work so far, it has also been a spiritually rewarding process. Thinking deeply about our most cherished ideas about our relationship with Jesus and trying to put those into words is rewarding in itself. Discussing those ideas and trying to reach consensus with a group of other believers is even more so. We are truly blessed to have an amazing and enthusiastic group of people working on our team. We have a lot of fun, but everyone is also willing to speak up, disagree, listen, and compromise. I look forward to being able to share the results of all our labor with you soon.

Speaking of labor… the Andersons are expecting their first child any day now! We look forward to meeting the newest member to our discernment team and potentially the youngest member of our new church.

Farmhouse, Mission Center, New Church

I continue to be surprised at the new ways people are seeking to live out church community in the midst of a rapidly changing culture. I wonder where God will take us? Take a look at the following article from the PCUSA website (there is a link to the NCD website at the end of the article):

Farmhouse becomes mission center to house new church development

To grow church literally on six acres halfway between Dallas and Forth Worth

OCTOBER 4, 2011

General Assembly Mission Council

BY PAUL SEEBECK, COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATE

Office of Church Growth

Imagine a new mission center in a farmhouse, housing a new congregation in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). As project co-pastor Shane Whisler puts it, “We asked ourselves: what if you started a church by putting the mission committee in charge?”

Whisler and his wife Pat Felter are leading a new ministry called East Broad Outreach Center in Mansfield, Texas.  Their vision for this new church development, supported by

Grace Presbytery, Synod of the Sun and the General Assembly Mission Council, is to create a mission center that houses a Presbyterian congregation.

Already they are growing — literally. They’ve planted an organic community garden next to the small farmhouse to add fresh flavor to their food pantry. This summer, the garden helped feed up to six large families a week. “You can’t always tell by looking, but there is great cultural and economic diversity here,” says Whisler. “In some of the newer homes, families are struggling to pay their mortgages. We also know there is large population of veterans around us, some homeless. We’re working with a local VFW post trying to locate them and make sure they feel welcome here.”

Shane Whisler of East Broad Outreach Center poses with custom made clothing made by a woman who works part time at a silk screening business. She did so out of gratitude for the food and moral support given to her at the new church development in Mansfield, Texas.

Whisler has heard stories of combat veterans who take great comfort in holding a guitar in their hands instead of a rifle. “We could do something like that here. It’s just a matter of us finding the people God wants to reach and being flexible enough to listen to God’s spirit.”

Whisler is quick to credit the vision for this mission center outreach to leadership within Grace Presbytery and a dedicated steering committee that opened the door to him and his wife in October 2010. “The Holy Spirit and mission work, big and small, across our denomination are our inspiration for this approach to church planting,” he says. “The vision for this mission center lined up exactly with what we’d been praying about for seven years,” adds Felter.

In addition to the organic community garden, the mission center offers a “back-to-work clothes closet” for people seeking employment for the first or fourth time in this difficult economy. Word is spreading; folks are making deposits of food and clothing in the plastic bin under the carport. “One woman was so grateful for the food and moral support,” says Whisler, “she told her boss at her part-time silk screening job about us. Two weeks later she delivered 25 custom printed East Broad Outreach Center t-shirts and hats for only one dollar each.”

As Whisler and Felter develop this new faith based community, they are deeply committed to showing peace, justice and love. Their first monthly worship service is on Saturday, October 8.  They already host meditation and discussion sessions called Friday Night Candle Lights. They are building relationships with the growing number of folks who aren’t members, who come to the farmhouse to do hands-on mission work. They also host a monthly faith and music exploration event at a local restaurant in this growing city of 60,000. “I was an interior designer in my first life,” says Felter. “I went back to Austin Seminary where I met Shane. When I volunteered for mission work up in Alaska, I thought I’d be a missionary. Turns out I am one in Mansfield.”

A father of two Girl Scouts installs an automatic drip irrigation system this spring in the organic community garden at East Broad Outreach Center, Mansfield, Texas. He volunteered for the job and donated many left over supplies from his own yard work.

Felter has a “bucket list” of things she’d like the mission center to work on, including stopping human trafficking. “I have a hard time keeping up with Pat’s ideas,” Whisler says, to laughter from both of them. “Shane will go out and find community,” she says, “and I’ll organize.”

East Broad Outreach Community is home to three Girl Scout troops who bring additional life to the property. “They held a day camp here that brought 130 girls and volunteers together,” says Whisler. Whisler met a father from one of the Girl Scout Troops when he offered his help. “The father installed an automatic drip irrigation system in our garden and taught me how to add to it.”

Whisler has also developed “a great partnership” with Trinity Presbyterian Church in Mansfield. Using Facebook, he hopes to get additional partners from all over the country to pray for the mission center that houses a worshiping community. “We would also love to host mission teams that could travel here to help develop the property so we can use it to teach core values of environmental stewardship, peacemaking and faith building.” Felter adds. “Come see us at eboc.org.”

via Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) – News & Announcements – Farmhouse becomes mission center to house new church development.